„We must not submit God's things at the altar of the emperor. Non possumus! (Can't)!”

Return of Primate Stefan Wyszyński
The thaw in the communist block

The communist authorities restricted
religious freedom and tried to subjugate
the Church. Primate Stefan Wyszyński
was arrested and for three years (1953-56)
he was kept in so-called places of detention.

Chaplaincy Centre

„(...) in the early 1950s it became obvious
that if this pastoral ministry is to reach into
different dimensions of the lives of young people
and students, it cannot end only at the church(…)”

There were several University chaplaincy
centers in Krakow at that time; the largest one
was at the church of St. Anna,
headed by Fr. Jan Pietraszko.

source: https://anno27.pl/
University Chaplaincy Centre in Krakow
Ludmiła Grygiel about bishop Pietraszko
Ludmiła Grygiel - historian, writer, author of a biography of Bishop Jan Pietraszko, knew him personally in her youth. She tells us what he was like and how he influenced the youth in Krakow.

At St. Florian

„I started to organize there – on every Thursday
- conferences for academic youth, raising basic
issues regarding the existence of God and the
spirituality of the human soul - topics highly
desirable in the context of the militant atheism
of the communist authorities”

It was in the parish of St. Florian where the long
pastoral work with academic youth
of Father Karol has began.

Photo: Jacek Fedorowicz
At St. Florian

The phenomenon
of the „Milieu”

„These individual somewhat
roads connected with each other
and that's how the »Milieu«
was created.”

The person Karol Wojtyła attracted a group of students
who remained in friendly relations, went on trips together,
strengthened one another in their faith. Initially, they called
themselves „Little Family”, then „Milieu”.

Photo: Jerzy Ciesielski, Romanka - 22-23 July 1953.
The phenomenon of the “Milieu”

and responsibility

„As a young priest,
I learned to love human love”

Fr. Karol Wojtyła accompanied
young people in growing up
to make a decision about marriage.

Photo: Aleksander Jagła
Małgorzata and Andrzej Zielińscy wedding, 1967.
Love and responsibility
Wedding Małgorzata and Andrzej Zielińscy


„Uncle remained an uncle forever,
and not only for us,
but also for our children”

Karol Wojtyła maintained cordial relations
with members of the „Milieu” and their families
until the end of their lives.

John Paul II and a group from „Milieu”
Uncle will always remain “Uncle”
Cardinal Stefan
Primate Stefan Wyszyński
Jerzy Ciesielski
Wanda Półtawska
Jan Pietraszko
Archbishop Eugeniusz
Eugeniusz Baziak


Bieszczady 1953 (stage 1)
- expedition to Tarnica and Halicz, 3-6 August

Tarnica and Halicz, 5 August 1953
Ustrzyki Górne, 3-4 August 1953
The expedition to the Bieszczady Mountains, 3-15 August 1953.

Bieszczady 1953 (stage 2)
- expedition from Ustrzyki Górne
to Cisna, August 7

Ustrzyki Górne - Cisna, 7 August 1953
Połonina Caryńska, 7 August 1953
Cisna, 7 August, 1953

Canoeing, Brda 1953.
(Nowa Brda - Bydgoszcz)

Day 1 (Nowa Brda - lake Szczytno Wlk.)
Day 2 (lake Szczytno Wlk. - Sąpolno)
Day 3 (Sąpolno - lake Charzykowskie)
Day 4 (lake Charzykowskie - lake Męciał)
Day 5 (lake Męcikał - Nadolna Karczma)
Day 6 (Nadolna Karczma - Piła-Młyn)
Day 7 (Piła-Młyn - Olszewka)
Day 8 (Olszewka - Bydgoszcz)
Kayaking, Brda 23.08-1.09 1953
Interesting facts

Skiing in the mountains

Jerzy Janik and Jacek Hennel invited Fr. Karol Wojtyła to come along on the big Gorce (mountains) skiing trip. What did they talk about during the trip?

Kayaking with Fr. Wojtyla

How did Uncle behave during kayak trips?
Władysława Bąk-Czechowska remembers him in the following way.

Adventure in the Bieszczady Mountains

During the expedition to the Bieszczady „Milieu” lost his way.
Where did they sleep? What did Fr. Wojtyla by the fire?
Account of prof. Teresa Malecka.

With kayaks to the train

What was the journey like on a crowded train with kayaks?
Why was the conductor looking for a bishop in the compartment?
Reported by Piotr Malecki and Jan Wodniecki.

Blisters on the face

During the expedition to Łyna, Uncle left to find out that he was elected bishop.
One of the participants had a minor accident on this trip.
How did priest Wojtyła react? Report of Maria Rybicka.

Song about the boxer

And during the evening spent around the campfire, the youth asked Uncle to sing a Lviv song ... What did Father Wojtyla sing about?
Account of prof. Andrzej Zieliński.

How was Uncle

What did Uncle do during kayak trip before others got up?
What were the relations between priest Wojtyła and young people?
Account of Ewa Wisłocka.

Dangerous expedition

How did the Uncle work out as a mountain guide? Janusz Rieger recalls a rather risky expedition in the Tatra Mountains.

Related materials from JP2online

Wideo – related materials
from JP2online

Janusz Rieger
Stanisław Rybicki
Teresa Malecka
Go To
Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Professor